Daily Archives: October 23, 2007

Virgil Starkwell Meets the Internet

There is a wonderful sequence in the Woodie Allen movie, Take the Money and Run, in which Virgil Starkwell, an incompetent small-time criminal, is sentenced to three days in jail with a life insurance salesman.

The scene ends with Virgil being led into a cell and, as the door is slammed shut, we hear a man in a business suit say, “Let me tell you about term life insurance.”

I saw that movie about forty years ago, and I just realized Virgil has returned, but is now prowling the internet.

Somehow I have been convicted of his crimes, and I have just received the notice of my sentence, courtesy of the folks at sys-con.com, who have just sent me the following email:

Only 3 Weeks to 4 Full Tracks on SOA & Virtualization in San Francisco !

QUESTION: What do the following leading technology executives and experts have in common?
CTO & Vice President of Engineering at Red Hat
Director of Virtualization Strategy for SAP
President of AccessFlow
Co-Founder & Chief Strategist of Appistry
Technology Evangelist at eBay
VP of Engineering at JackBe
Co-Founder & CTO of Layer 7 Technologies
President & CEO of Kidaro
Chief Software Architect at TwoConnect
Vice President & Chief Technologist for SOA at Oracle
Founding Partner of Mindbridge Software
VP of Marketing for Ensim
Co-Founders of Kaazing
Senior Software Engineer with IBM
VP & Deputy CTO at webMethods
Director of SOA Technology for Web Age Solutions
Co-Founder of TIBCO General Interface
CTO & Co-Founder of Endeavors Technologies
PM for SOA Solutions at Parasoft
Virtualization Evangelist for DataSynapse
Senior Software Architect at Virtusa
Lead Architect at SAIC
CTO at Nastel Technologies
Principal Solutions Architect at ClearApp
VP of Engineering at Attune Systems
Enterprise Architect with WS02
Senior Architect in the IP and Standards Group at CA
Executive Consultant with Compass
Co-Founder & VP of Technology for Virtual Iron
Principal Architect in the Office of the CTO at Active Endpoints
SVP of Product Strategy for TIBCO
Co-Founder & CTO of Securent
VP of Product Marketing at ILOG
Corporate Communications Manager for SWsoft
Co-Founder & CTO of rPath
Senior Technical Evangelist / Software Engineer at Sybase
Performance Engineer for Verio
Enterprise Architect with Amerisure Mutual Insurance
Senior Vice President & CTO of Synovus
ANSWER: All will be speaking at either “SOA World Conference & Expo 2007 West” or “Virtualization Conference & Expo 2007 West” next month, November 12-13, at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco. Come learn from them over two intense days of technical sessions, keynotes, industry panels, and presentations/demos.
FULL CONFERENCE SCHEDULE: http://www2.sys-con.com/soaworld1107/schedule.cfm

>> Virtualization Conference & Expo 2007 West

*** INCLUDING KEYNOTE ADDRESS: “The Future of the Virtual Enterprise”
*** by Brian Stevens, CTO & VP of Engineering, Red Hat

Come attend the technical sessions. Come learn from the keynote address by the CTO of Red Hat. Come mingle on the exhibit floor with others who are orienting themselves about Virtualization – fast becoming a key requirement for every server in the data center, enabling increased workloads in server consolidation projects, efficient software development and testing, resource management for dynamic data centers, application re-hosting and compatibility, and high-availability partitions.
FULL CONFERENCE SCHEDULE: http://www2.sys-con.com/soaworld1107/schedule.cfm
You can still save $200 on the Full (Golden Pass) Conference Registration.
REGISTER to attend this event before October 26 and SAVE $200

>> 12th International SOA World Conference & Expo 2007 West
The IT landscape is changing rapidly in the direction of Service-Oriented Architecture. IDC estimates that spending on SOA services alone will grow from $8.6BN to more than $33BN by 2010. Join your IT peers who like you realize that SOA involves rethinking how the business leverages IT in many various ways, and at the technical sessions and industry-savvy Power Panels find real-world advice and insight about how SOA can transform business including the way IT and business managers think about their businesses, processes, and technology.
FULL CONFERENCE SCHEDULE: http://www2.sys-con.com/soaworld1107/schedule.cfm
You can still save $200 on the Full (Golden Pass) Conference Registration.
REGISTER to attend this event before October 26 and SAVE $200
Best wishes,
SYS-CON Events Team

Suggestions To Novice IBM Bloggers

Bob Sutor just mentioned that a member of his team, Arnaud Le Hors, has started blogging outside the IBM firewall.

I just posted the first comment to this blog.

I’m also posting it here as I think it applies to any IBMer — or anyone else for that matter — who blogs in the open –outside the firewall — in a way that readers will be aware of their job and their employer.

By the way, Sean Dague, an LTC colleague has created the
LTC Planet (available only inside the IBM firewall).

It’s home page reads as follows:

LTC Planet

LTCers are blogging all over the place, and now there is an easy place to find their content.

The content is divided up into three sections:

Blog Central (accessible only within IBM)

This is the IBM internal blog repository. LTCer blogs are added automatically through a walk of Blue Pages. [1]

LTC External Planet (accessible only within IBM)

This is a list of LTCer external blogs of people talking about the work they do from IBM. You can think of these as external professional blogs by LTCers.

LTC Personal Planet (accessible only within IBM)

This is a list of LTCer external blogs that are purely personal, and don’t really discuss their work at IBM. It may not apply to technology directly, but is a good way to get a feel for your fellow LTCers as people, even if you’ve never met them face to face.

The current LTC professional bloggers are

Dear new IBM blogger,

Some suggestions from a long-time IBM blogger:

Stop using Blogspot, now. Start using WordPress. It is the best, it is free, and it is open-source.

Don’t give your name in capital letters. Give the proper spelling, which according to IBM’s Blue Pages is “Arnaud Le Hors.”

Add the standard disclaimer about not representing IBM’s opinions, etc. Bob’s blog has it featured in the top right hand corner. Also add the disclaimer when you write a post about a topic where folks might assume you are speaking on behalf of IBM.

Blogs are supposed to be egocentric. That’s the point, to let the world know you — and your ego — by way of your writing in your own words.

It also helps to get things off the ground by writing about anything you care about, be it Dylan, Second Life, or How To Get a Life. For example, by design I tried to take risk in my early writings to become more comfortable with blogging.

Try to write a lot, even if you know some of the initial work will be stupid. You need to blog with speed. Think of A.J. Liebling, who dsaid, “I can write faster than anyone who can write better, and better than anyone who can write faster.”

You say at the bottom, ”
[note: this post was slightly edited to improve the overall flow]”

You should free to edit posts after you publish them so long as you do not alter the basic meaning or intent.

If you use WordPress you can also change the title, but if you are unhappy with the title, just edit it. Do not delete the post and create another one so it will have the desired URL. That will lead to 404’s from Apache that readers will find annoying.

But these are but minor issues. The key point is that you have started blogging OUTSIDE the IBM firewall. That’s the place to be, our there with our partners, clients, and, perhaps due to your writing, some future clients and partners.

Keep up the good work.



1. “Blue Pages” is IBM’s internal phone/people directory. The first such directory was created in the late 1970’s by Peter Capek of IBM Research , a friend of over forty years. He retired from IBM about a year ago. He played an important role in IBM’s early open-source efforts, and was the first to remark that one reason for Research to engage in open-source was that it would help in attracting folks to come work at Research.

The Long March Up From Obscurity: Technorati Authority Now 40, Rank 199700

I just noted that my Technorati rank is now below 200,000, and I have left my blogger youth behind in that my Authority is now 40.

The open question is when, if ever, my Authority will reach or exceed my age, which is just short of 64, the next power of two in sight now that I have passed 32.

Any guesses as to when this might be? I’m hoping to do it by the end of year. You can post your guesses via a comment to this post.

I just reviewed some of my older posts, and found via Moving up the long tail that I went below 200,000 early this past December, though the growth of the blogosphere, as well as a period of inactivity this past spring while I prepared my talk on promoting open technologies in schools, led to a steady rise in my rank.

The technorati rank is similar to golf in that the lower the number the better.

Look out, Scooby-Do. Here I come!

I know it’s a long haul, as Sboody-Do’s current Rank is 51. His Authority is 5981.

I also know I face a handicap is blogging mostly about open-source and education, while Scooby-Do covers the universe.

But that’s ok, I’ll ride open-source up the long tail as far as I can, having fun all the way.

See also Word-press project initial status report

Dashboard, Dashboard, On The Panel

I’ve been using WordPress to write this blog for almost a year now.

It’s been great. Indeed, I think WordPress is one of the finest pieces of software I have ever used, and I’ve been using and writing software for well over four decades.

By the way, that is the acid test of a piece of software. You know it is very, very good when you say to yourself, “Damn! Why didn’t I think of that. It’s so obvious.”

Damn, why didn’t I — moi — think of WordPress. It’s so obvious. A clean web app in PHP that is simple to use and exploits the power of a browser interface down to the sub-character level. Sigh…

And I say that not just because WordPress is open-source and so is freely available, or because the kind folks at WordPress.com provide hosting services for free.

My guess is that the WordPress designers have provided something much more powerful than even they expected, because by coming up with a clean design, then implementing it, and further refining the design based on user experience, they have done something quite wondrous.

Not only have they given us a writing tool, they have also given us a tool that gives us insight into our own writing as we use it, and thus we gain insight about ourselves.

For example, I flog this blog day and night about open-source, education, Tom Friedman, The New York Mets, and a whole host of topics.

Indeed, I like WordPress so much that I have started several blogs, so I can address different topics in different voices, or to start sites that I want to enlist others as contributors while maintaining this, my main site, as my own.

As the Beach Boys used to sing, “Fun, Fun, Fun, now that WP gave me this blogging machine.” [1]

One of the nicer features of WordPress is that it is easy to switch from blog to blog in a single pulldown menu. For example, shall I be “daveshields” or “twit01,” or “chayproject,” or “fallensoldiers,” or “michaelpmurphy?” It’s all up to me. I have the blogging pedal to the WordPress metal.

It doesn’t matter … unless one of the options is not just another way to have fun, or my home blog, but is another blog that I have started, one that I know is important, but that I also know will take lots of hard work to move forward.

In my case that would be the Fallen Soldiers sites for SSgt. Kyu Hyuk Chay and Lt. Michael P. Murphy.

And that is how I have come to appreciate that WordPress can be a daily instructor in priorities, organization, and even ethics.

It can also be a reminder of what is really important.

For example, now every time I click on the WordPress Dashboard, I will see the name of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, as I have been seeing the name of SSgt, Chay for weeks.

Now that I’ve seen Lt. Murphy’s name a few times, I have realized that I had become quite skilled in ignoring SSgt. Chay’s name on the dashboard pulldown list.

I also just realized I have in the last couple of hours become quite skilled in typing Lt. Michael P. Murphy’s name.

I’m also proud that I have improved my skill in typing his name, because each and every time — and I hope there are a lot of them — I type that name for the rest of my life I will think of this wonderful soldier who gave his life in service to our country.

So I suggest you start another blog, something you care a lot about, but also something you know is hard to do, or hard to write about.

Because then you will have to make your own call every time you see the WordPress Dashboard: [2]

Dashboard, Dashboard, What’s the most important of all?


1. Woody Allen once remarked that California’s contribution to American culture was Right Turn On Red. Though it was indeed valuable, I went to college in LA-LA-Land in the 60’s and so give higher priority to Jan and Dean, The Beach Boys, The Mamas And The Papas, and the El Monte Legion Auditorium — Be There Or Be Square!

That’s because I can actually remember driving down Sunset Boulevard on a sunny Monday morning hearing the radio blast out, “Monday, Monday …”

A much more significant contribution than Right Turn on Red is EZ-Pass, an innovation from this side of the country.

EZ-Pass is right up there with The Wheel, Fire, Linux, and the Sports Pages.

2. IBM ran a series of ads a few years ago with the theme, “You make the call.” Each began with a short video showing a controversial call from a sporting event, then went on to say something about IBM, and ended with the call that was made.

I don’t remember what was said in the middle, but I do remember that IBM ran those ads,

That was the point. It didn’t matter what was said in the middle. All IBM wanted was that you knew it was an IBM ad, as the real goal was to grow the brand. That’s also why it doesn’t matter what’s behind that damned Red Curtain, though one wonders why the curtain wasn’t Blue, Big Blue’s Blue.

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